The Point of No Return: Check Your Hooks.

I’m a part-time river gambler. Betting that I can catch chunky smallmouth bass, I cast into the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania and even “raise the stakes” by letting my lure fall and bump into the rocks. But rocks are tough on hooks and chances of a successful hook set drop dramatically if the hook is not sharp and strong.

Check Your Hooks for These 3 Qualities:

Dull hook point. This is commonly overlooked. Compare the tip of a lure fresh out of the package with the “go to” lures in your tackle box by carefully touching the tip with your thumb. Chances are, you’ll notice a big difference. A hook sharpener is a wise investment, but only if it is used.

Rusty hooks. If you get caught in a rain or accidentally drop your tackle bag while crossing a stream, make sure to let the lures dry before snapping the lid shut and not using them for a few weeks. Also, your hooks may start to rust if you leave some soft-plastics on the hook over winter. If I discover a rusty hook on a jig, I will cut the hook off but continue to use the head as a weight, perhaps with a drop-shot rig.

Fatigued hooks. Many wire-type hooks will let you bend back into shape after returning from a snag. However with each bend, that metal weakens. With smaller fish like bluegill, crappie, or yellow perch the hook probably will not break after several straightenings. However, if there are larger fish in the area, it may be time to replace that hook.

How many fish have you missed because of a hook that broke or was dull?

Share this post with your friends so they also can fish more effectively! And remind them of renew or get their fishing license before getting out on the water!

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.